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The King of Limbs

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Editors’ Notes

As the most beloved art-rock band in the world, Radiohead are always looking for ways to warp their sound beyond the breaking point. Here, singer Thom Yorke is still in the mode of his solo album, The Eraser. As he sings in a beautifully stationary position, the group works around him, beginning slightly ahead of him with “Bloom,” a repetitive tone poem whose two piano notes play like a warning siren as the band finds new landscapes to paint. What constitutes the first “side” of this album is agitated and striking, a push and pull of subtle and overt proportions. “Morning Mr. Magpie” works out a measured funk and “Feral” dances around itself. “Side Two” begins the slowdown. “Lotus Flower” still has a few galvanizing moments, but “Codex” is a piano ballad of pure, tranquil bliss. “Give Up the Ghost” is a haunted, funhouse mirror version of the blues. “Separator” is a perfect ending, a piece of swelling pop where Yorke and group work together in peculiar harmony.

Customer Reviews

The Amnesiac to In Rainbows

I feel this album will always be compared to In Rainbows in the way the way that any other follow up album to a a masterpiece is. In my opinion this is similar to how Amnesiac followed up Kid A. It provided many of the great elements which made its predecessor brilliant while also experimenting with new sounds and territories. The second half of this album displays much of the same sort of sounds that In Rainbows held in its quieter moments. The first half was the most experimental for Radiohead. Experimenting with new trends and styles in electronic music such as jittering beats and rolling bass, The King of Limbs displays a lot of Radiohead's new interest in Dubstep electronic that has risen to prominence in the past few years since In Rainbows was released. A solid listen all the way through, it will reveal itself over time to you if you are patient and allow yourself to dissect the song structures for new layers. Key tracks are Bloom, Lotus Flower, Little By Little, and Giving Up the Ghost.

For Dedicated Fans Only

"The King of Limbs" will surely go down in Radiohead history as THE album that divides the fan camp. Either you love it BECAUSE it's Radiohead or you hate it because it doesn't sound like Radiohead. I'm a little on the fence in this regard as I hear a heck of a lot of Thom Yorke's "The Eraser" solo album in it, but also perhaps some dark b-sides from the long-gone "Kid A/Amnesiac" era.

I doubt highly that the few years that have spanned "IN RAINBOWS'" release and the appearance of "The King of Limbs" were wasted. There's a lot of good things going for Radiohead right now. They understand their fan base and continue to stick to what works while still being experimental enough to not get "boring." They're darlings in the music world who can apparently do no wrong, yet can still receive constructive feedback when more militant fans and critics can't help but look way, way back at "OK Computer" as some neverending launch pad for further Radiohead material. (Never liked that album, myself.)

I think "The King of Limbs" is a step forward to something bigger and better. The album is rich in deep textures and otherworldly Yorke-ish vocals. It just doesn't seem complete. if there's more to come.

I can't imagine non-Radiohead fans getting into this album, though curious ears familiar with dark, ambient soundscapes and drum machines may find it interesting. "Lotus Flower" sounds like a collaboration between Yorke and Massive Attack, a group known for its own grasp on trippy, strange atmospheric sounds. I'd suggest new listeners picking up "IN RAINBOWS" or even "Hail to the Thief" as starting points. "OK Computer" may be the band's bread and butter, but that was before they truly found their niche, in my opinion.

Good album, this is, yet polarizing for understandable reasons. Give it a year. See what happens then.

It's Radiohead

Buy it while you can because one day great bands like this will cease to exist and you'll regret not fully embracing releases such as these.....Thom rocks


Formed: 1989 in Oxford, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

At some point in the early 21st century, Radiohead became something more than a band: they became a touchstone for everything that is fearless and adventurous in rock, inheriting the throne from David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and the Talking Heads. The latter group gave the band its name -- it's an album track on 1986's True Stories -- but Radiohead never sounded much like the Heads, nor did they take much from Bowie apart from their willingness to experiment. Instead, they spliced Floyd's spaciness with...
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